Wednesday, November 26, 2008

US military announces the death of a Marine and a Solider

RELEASE No. 20081126-01
Nov. 26, 2008
Marine, Soldier attacked by SAF
Multi National Force – West PAO
NINAWA PROVINCE, Iraq – One U.S. Marine and an U.S. Military Transition team Soldier were killed in a small-arms fire attack while conducting a humanitarian assistance operation near Biaj Nov. 25.
Two Marines and three civilians were also wounded in the attack.
While in the midst of the unit conducting the mission the unit came under fire by two men, one of whom appeared to be wearing an Iraqi uniform. The Iraqi Security and Coalition forces immediately cordoned off the area.
"The attack appears to have been unprovoked, said Col. Bill Buckner, spokesman for the Multi-National Corps – Iraq. "It is unknown if the attacker was an Iraqi soldier or an insurgent in disguise."
The incident is under a joint investigation.
The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.

The above is today's the US military's announcement of the latest deaths. The announcement brings to 4207 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. The New York Times writes up the above deaths here (and it's credited to "The New York Times," no individual byline).

Let's move from that to the lies of the treaty. Adam Ashton, Jonathan S. Landay and Nancy A. Youssef's "Dueling interpretations hang over U.S.-Iraq security pact" (Miami Herald) reports:

The Bush administration has adopted a much looser interpretation of several key provisions of the pending U.S.-Iraq security agreement than the Iraqi government has, U.S. officials said Tuesday - just hours before the Iraqi parliament was to hold its historic vote.
These provisions include a ban on the launch of attacks on other countries from Iraq, a requirement to notify the Iraqis in advance of U.S. military operations and the question of Iraqi legal jurisdiction over American troops and military contractors.
Officials in Washington said the administration has withheld the official English translation of the agreement in an effort to suppress a public dispute with the Iraqis until after the Iraqi parliament votes.

The differing versions were noted in the November 19th Congressional hearing. And better late than never for McClatchy to note at least some of the differences. That's not sarcasm. It could have been noted sooner but look around and note how many have either lied or flaunted ignorance. And for Youssef, especially, it's a big turnaround on this topic.

Reminder from the American Freedom Campaign:

Does this sound right to you? Next week, the Iraqi Parliament is expected to vote on whether to approve an agreement setting the terms of the ongoing military relationship between the United States and Iraq. So far, so good. A legislative body, representing the people of a nation, shall determine the extent to which that nation's future will be intertwined with that of another. Of course, one would expect that the United States Congress would be given the same opportunity. That, however, is not the case. Or at least it is not what the Bush administration is allowing to happen. Shockingly, the Bush administration is not even letting Congress read the full agreement before it is signed!
We need you to send a message immediately to U.S. House and Senate leaders, urging them to demand the constitutional input and approval to which they are entitled.
The administration has asserted that the agreement between the U.S. and Iraq is merely a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and therefore does not require congressional approval. Yet the agreement goes far beyond the traditional limits of a SOFA, which typically set the terms for bringing materials and equipment into a nation and outline the legal procedures that will apply to members of the military who are accused of crimes. Believe it or not, the current agreement contains terms that will actually give Iraq a measure of control over U.S. forces. No foreign nation or international entity has ever been given the authority to direct U.S. forces without prior congressional approval - either through a majority vote of both chambers or a two-thirds vote in the Senate in the case of treaties.
If this agreement goes into effect without congressional approval, it will establish a precedent under which future presidents can exercise broad unilateral control over the U.S. military -- and even give foreign nations control over our troops. Congress must take immediate action. Unfortunately, they are about to adjourn for at least a couple of weeks. But it is not too late for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make a statement, signaling their strong belief that Congress will not be bound by and need not fund an agreement that has not been approved by Congress.
Please send an E-mail encouraging such action to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid immediately by clicking [here]
This is truly a dire situation and we hope that you will join us in calling for action. Thank you. Steve Fox

Campaign Director
American Freedom Campaign
Action Fund

Meanwhile Roy Gutman's "Vast U.S. Embassy in Baghdad: A monument to what?" (McClatchy Newspapers) explores the US castle in the Green Zone:

The vast, fortified complex is sterile and austere, not the open door ambiance for which Americans like to be known. Congressional funding didn't cover landscaping, so where gardens and grass should be, there's only dirt. In Iraq's hot, dry climate, it turns to dust, which blows into the eyes of anyone walking through the compound. At night, when sodium lamps illuminate the red brick construction, it has an eerie feel, like a scene out of a sci-fi movie
The compound exudes power, but also fear. It was built during the heaviest phase of fighting for an immense sum – $740 million dollars – with specs set by pessimists who assumed mortars would be fired at it for years. The cafeteria has massive bulletproof glass doors, an indoor gym is visible behind bulletproof glass as is an indoor swimming pool, and there are housing and offices for 1,000.
This colossal complex will shortly replace the current embassy – the Republican Palace built by Saddam Hussein and seized by the conquering U.S. army in 2003. That monument to pomposity, decorated in the gaudy style to which the dictator was accustomed, at least has some architectural touches borrowed from Mesopotamian history. And it will once again receive state visitors, when it is returned to the Iraqi government.
But who will be occupying the new U.S. Embassy complex in 10 years? Will there be new tenants? Will there be buckets out to collect rainwater dripping through the roof, as there were the other day at the Palace? Will grass and bushes ever be planted or will it be left to the wind: a center of Western presence in Iraq or a monument to the still inexplicable decision to come here and assert what some thought to be limitless power.

The US Embassy is a crumbling facade which also makes it an allegory for the illegal war. Yesterday Bully Boy was trying desperately to justify his illegal war of choice built on lies and Al Jazeera notes:

In a speech to around 10,000 US troops at Fort Campbell, Kentucky on Tuesday, Bush praised those who served for taking part in "the great ideological struggle of our time".
"The war in Iraq is not over. But we're drawing closer to the day when our troops come home," Bush told personnel from the US 101st Airborne Division, who have recently returned from serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"And when they come home, they will come home in victory."

From stupidity to to wisdom, John Ross offers "Obama in Bedlam" (CounterPunch):

I don't buy Barack Obama as the Messiah. I didn't vote for him (I voted for another Afro-American) and I haven't filed an application to join his regime. He ran a duplicitous, multi-million dollar campaign that masqueraded as a social movement and because it was a gimmick and a shuck, will thwart and demoralize the re-creation of real social movement for years to come.
The suckers packed shoulder to shoulder in Grant Park on Election Night were not a movement. 40 years ago, the Left stood in that park and were burning American flags, not waving them - although the reasons were equally specious. Back then, it was the denial of another false Messiah's rightful place on the Democratic Party ticket. We ran a pig for president to underscore our disdain for the electoral process and when Mayor Dailey's cops kidnapped and barbecued our candidate, we turned to yet another Afro-American who was also not the Messiah. In August 1968, the Mayor of Chicago, whose son is now Barack Obama's most trusted political advisor, sent in the real pigs to beat us into the Grant Park grass like so many baby harp seals.
Now that was a social movement…
Eduardo Galeano does not get it. When he tells Amy Goodman that he has high hopes for El Baracko because black slaves once built the White House for which the president-elect is now measuring the drapes, he does not consider that Obama himself is a slave, a slave to Wall Street and General Motors and Big Oil and Big Ethanol, a slave to the War Machine and U.S. Imperialism and Israel, a slave to We're Number One jingoism, avarice, and greed and the American Nightmare, a slave to the free market and free enterprise and free trade and the flimflam of corporate globalization, and most of all, a slave to the Democratic Party puppet masters who now move his strings.
Galeano doesn't seem to recall that Afro-Americans can be mass murderers too. Condi is a killer and Barack's big booster Colin Powell once obligated the United National Security Council to cover up a reproduction of Picasso's "Gernika" before he could lie that contaminated body in the eye about Saddam's make-believe WMDs and jumpstart a war that has now taken a million Iraqi lives. So far. The bloodletting has hardly abated.
We are in garbage time. The adulatory garbage being spewed about the virtues of Barrack Obama are a toxic trick on the peoples of the earth. One glaring recent example: 100,000 marched from sea to shining sea in the U.S. last weekend (Nov. 16th) in support of same sex marriage and no one had the moxie to even mention that Barack Obama does not support same sex marriage.

Stan's latest post is "The good and the bad" and other community posts from last night:

Many of those cover the Robert Gates news so I'm not tackling it until today's snapshot.

So what's going on here? There will be a snapshot today. We'll have to fly home and we've got a tight speaking schedule so it may go up after six p.m. EST. There will be a Thursday evening "I Hate The War" entry. There will be morning entries on Thursday and Friday. I'm not sure about the snapshot -- that will depend on how much news there is coming out of Iraq and on Iraq.

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adam ashton